Well lovely Ivy over at Kopiaste, who has a fabulous Greek/Cypriot Food Blog asked me to do the 5 Facts About Me meme. So I figured what the heck?! Could be fun! Then I thought, as always in true Jenn fashion, is there anything I can write about that would be beneficial for people to read, that is related to food Γ’β‚¬β€œ being that this is a food blog. Well I am not one to do rants generally, as I always steer my blog to positive things, but there are some things in the Food World that have been pestering me for several weeks now and I feel I should share this information and perhaps spread the word about the food we eat and things that you might not know about.

But first, the fun ones, the 5 facts about me!

1)I believe that the most powerful force in the universe is Love
2)When I was younger I had blond, poker straight hair (must be all that Olive oil!)
3)I believe in Fairies!
4)I once lived as a Shepard on The Navajo Reservation
5)I worked in the Alternative/Holistic Health field for many years, and saw first hand, day after day how foods help and harm us. It is from this knowledge and my hope to pass it on that I share these next 5 facts.

Now for my 5 Food Facts:

1) The food industry is tricking us, AGAIN. I am sure you all have heard everywhere from doctors and magazine articles and books to The Oprah show, about the evils of trans fats and hydrogenated oils. The spreading of this information happened like wildfire and now most everyone knows to read their food labels and not purchase food items that contain trans fats or hydrogenated oils. Well that is all well and good, HOWEVER they have now introduced Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil to many of these foods in place of the trans fats. So isn’t that good? Well, no. Palm Oil is loaded with saturated fat. The Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, World Health Organization, and other health authorities have urged reduced consumption of these oils.
Not only is is bad for us to eat, but it is bad for the environment. It is harvested from rain forests and is destroying many animals that live there, not to mention the indigenous communities of humans there as well. My question is, is it really worth it? I also ask, if this is common knowledge (a 30 second google search), why is it now showing up in foods that are promoted for heart health? Why is it in my beloved NUTELLA!? Why does there even need to BE oils in Nutella? Has any one ever heard of butter, you know, the thing made from cows that contains one ingredient: cream (And sometimes salt)?

I think it is appalling that the FDA allows this stuff to go into our foods masking the truth.
I don’t think I need to say why the FDA is allowing bad foods to go into many popular products that people buy that are supposed to be healthy. You do the math. To learn more, read this article.

2) If you want to eat something sweet stick to sugar, it is better for you than the artificial stuff. There is aspartame (a PC word for saccharin) and its cousin splenda and then our friend High Fructose Corn Syrup. This is the same deal. People got hip to the fact that saccharin, aka Nutrasweet, kills rats and mice, by giving them cancer, so then the food companies brought us aspartame, which is the same thing, different name. (For those of you who are not aware of this, please go check out Sweet Misery (these chemical ingredients are in EVERYTHING labeled DIET. Throw that junk out. Seriously, if you are going to drink soda, go for the one with cane sugar. You can find these soft drinks at any health food store, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods). When people realized this and stopped buying products with Nutrasweet and Aspartame, Splenda came into our lives. Splenda is NOT made from Sugar. It is a chemical called sucralose. Sugar is fed to a processing plant and the sugar molecules are chlorinated and then re-arranged. So I guess if you are alright with ingesting chlorine, go for it. But, if you want something sweet and safe, find products with cane sugar or if you are diabetic, use Stevia.Oh, and since I mentioned Corn Syrup it is in everything because it is cheaper to refine than sugar. That is all it is, a money thing. When you eat sugar a chemical is released to tell you that you are full, studies show that when ingesting corn syrup the fullness chemical is suppressed actually making you feel hungrier, yet. No wonder diabetes is on the rise.

So the moral is, eat natural things that are familiar to you, and stay away from processed foods or chemicals. If you cannot pronounce something, or have never seen an item on a food label before, even if it is natural, like palm oil, or corn syrup, research it before you buy the product. Thankfully because we are foodies, we make most of our stuff from scratch, so we know what goes in things like bread and pasta sauce, etc. So when you look at labels and see weird things that have no reason to be there in the first place, then it is time to put the product back on the shelf and walk away. Consumers RULE. If enough of us boycott something, the food companies have to change what they are doing, like the hydrogenated oils. But now they have proven that we need to keep on top of things and not assume that they are actually trying to do good by us. But we are smarter and now we are hip to their game!

Bring on the Olive oil!

3) Soy is good, but in moderation and not for all people. Soy is a good meat alternative, it is healthy and filling and you can get super creative with it in the kitchen. But it is important to look at some of the other facts. If you have increased rick for breast cancer, it can be a concern. Also, soy has been so genetically modified over the past 10 years, it is not the same stuff we used to have. Plus it is not a traditional food for people of European decent and although there have been lots of studies in Asia with regard to their traditional use of soy in their diet and breast cancer/ heart disease, etc many people of European decent have sensitivities to soy, myself included. I was a vegetarian for 10 years and a vegan for 2. I ate a lot of soy and did not know I had a sensitivity to it and made me tired all the time. It also makes my hands and feet swell. It took me years to relate it to my soy intake, because I know how good it can be for you!

Okay, so enough negatives, how about the positives. Here are a few foods that are very good for you and you should have in your diet.

1) Buffalo or Bison Meat
Buffalo can only survive on a diet of grass, unlike cows, they cannot be fed on a diet of corn. Grass fed meat is high in CLA which is another kind of good fat and is only available in products from grass fed animals. Studies are slowly proving that CLA might help fight cancer. A study in Finland showed that women who had a higher percentage of CLA in their diet had a 60% lower risk of breast cancer. It also has a tendency to reduce body fat. However if you take CLA as a supplement instead of directly from the meat or dairy products of these animals (including grass fed beef), it contains isomers which over time may not be healthy. So just eat the foods!

2) Pomegranates
Pomegranates have long been used as aphrodisiacs. However, studies are finding that they also are extremely healthy and contain more antioxidants than blueberries. Studies in Israel are also showing that it could have important implications for breast cancer treatment and estrogen replacement therapies. They say that pomegranate juice is toxic to most estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells while leaving normal breast cells, unaffected. To learn about the study, click here.

So there you have it – 5 facts about me and 5 facts about food you might not know about.

This was not intended to shove my thoughts down people’s throats. It is just meant to be a thought provoking article to inspire you all to go out and check this information out for yourself. Be educated. I just saw too many people’s health destroyed by these “innocent” things that many people take for granted as not being that big of a deal.

Here’s to your health! Go Check out Ivy’s Blog and her answers to the same Meme.